Expat Life

Coming home: flying Qantas

I have a confession: I didn’t really want to come home. Not yet anyway.

I am glad to be home. I have a good relationship with my family and I enjoy spending time with them. I missed my coven and other friends. I like Melbourne and I loved being with there with my beau. Three months slipped by too quickly.

Theo took me to the Melbourne Airport bright and early on Tuesday morning. After check-in, I went through security and to the gate. He was allowed to come with me, which I don’t think is allowed in US airports anymore. I was so glad he could be there with me during that final hour and he stayed until I boarded and he could no longer see me.

The hour flight from Melbourne to Sydney was uneventful and pleasant enough. I had an aisle seat and nobody on the other side. I was able to see the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge from the plane.

After a short layover, I boarded the Qantas plane for a 13-hour flight to Los Angeles (LAX). I don’t have enough praise for Qantas. I had a window seat behind the flight attendant’s prep area, which means extra leg room. The flight attendant said to me, “Best seat in the house. Do you know someone?” What I know is SeatGuru, a website that features maps of aircrafts with a colour-coded system identifying excellent, average, and bad seats. I never choose my seat on plane without checking SeatGuru and I’ve never been disappointed with the result. I highly recommend it.

On my awesome window seat, I found a pillow, blanket, and a bag with a sleeping mask, a toothbrush, and a small tube of toothpaste. Although Qantas offers excellent in-flight entertainment that includes some of the latest movie releases, popular television shows, gaming, and plenty of music, I settled in with my Kindle. I read The Hunger Games and enjoyed it. The movie is not exactly like it (it never is), but the film is a good adaptation.

Qantas food.

Qantas food.

Qantas has the best airplane food I’ve ever had. Unlike the pitiful domestic flights in the US that don’t give you even a bag of nuts for free, Qantas has a menu of meals and snacks that are included in the cost of flying. For dinner, I selected four cheese ravioli in mushroom sauce on a bed of spinach. It came with a salad, rice pudding for dessert, a drink (I like water with my dinner), a chocolate bar (for later) and a little box of mints.

As the flight went on through the evening and into the night, passengers were offered drinks, fruit, cookies, a delicious mango and cream frozen bar, and pizza. I managed to snooze for a few hours and, in the morning, I opted for the continental breakfast of cereal and milk with fruit, a muffin, coffee and orange juice.

I had a four-hour layover in Los Angeles. I had to go through U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which was easy. I also had to get my bag and re-check it because I moved from an international flight to a domestic one. That wasn’t so bad, but figuring out where I had to go after that was confusing. I had to go through security again for the third time. The terminal was busy and crowded and hot food was hard to come by. The line at Chilli’s was very long and Burger King ran out of food. I ended up purchasing a lousy turkey sandwich for $8.50 from a small vendor and a crappy hot chocolate from Starbucks. I couldn’t wait to get out of LAX.

The five-hour American Airlines flight to Miami was wretched. The airplane seemed ancient. I had a window seat and no neighbour, which was good, but a small girl sat behind me and spent much of the flight kicking and pushing my seat. Her mother rewarded her with coos and kisses. There was no complimentary food on the flight, but for $8 you could purchase a little box containing four crackers, four slices of cheese, some grapes and nuts. Thankfully, drinks are complementary. The in-flight entertainment was lame and featured on a few fixed monitors throughout the plane rather than individual ones so everyone had to watch the same thing. Headsets are available for sale. Thank goodness for my Kindle and iPhone.

American Airlines airplane wing in flight.

I arrived in Miami about 11pm and went down to the baggage carousels. In less than five minutes, they announced three different carousels for my flight, and you could hear the groans as people travelled back and forth. Typical Miami, nobody knows what’s going on. I took a cab and was home by midnight. My mother greeted me. My cat gave me the stinkeye.

It’s nice to be home. I spent some hours visiting with my sister and the kids and catching up with friends. Meantime, I’m thinking about when I’ll be able to get back to Australia.

Comments

comments

  • Yes. leaving OZ is hard knowing it is far, far away and you can not easy jump in the car or plane and pop in and enjoy… but that’s part of why it is so great too. You dream (litterally) and think of when you return…

    • Cosette

      Indeed. Door to door, the journey was about 25 hours, but I’d do it again tomorrow if I could.

  • I feel your pain. Back when my fiance and I had to be separated for a while, the leaving part was always painful. I think it’s extra hard for the person who is doing the leaving. The other person has their usual routine to distract them, but the person who is leaving has to come down off the high of the trip and settle back in. I’m really glad we don’t have to do that anymore (well, I guess we might still have to until my visa stuff gets cleared up, but it’s unlikely). Last time I went to America, I had to leave a few days earlier because of ticket prices and the fact that he couldn’t get off work as soon as I needed to leave and even though we were only apart for a few days, it still hurt just as much as leaving and knowing we’d be apart for at least a month or more.

    Do you have plans to move to Melbourne or for him to move to America? One nice thing about Australia is they allow temporary and permanent residency visas for people in de facto relationships, so you don’t have to be engaged or married if you can show you are in a serious relationship. The minimum to qualify for that status is a relationship of at least one year, but you can sometimes get around that requirement if you can show that you have plans to get engaged eventually or if you have kids together or whatever.

    Whatever you decide, I hope you get a chance to come back soon or that he can visit you and you can show him where you live, if you haven’t gotten to do that already.

    • Cosette

      Thank you so much for your supportive words. We are discussing plans a more permanent solution to being together 🙂